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Michael Oren Spells It Out For You: “Essentially, Hamas invaded Israel first.”

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Professor Michael Oren was formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and is a widely read and respected scholar of Middle East history who has taught at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown and is now living and teaching full-time in Israel after his retirement from his diplomatic post last year.

Oren has written histories of both the 1967 and Yom Kippur wars and his Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present is must reading for serious commentators on the  Middle East (and re-reading for my vacation ahead.)  He is also a veteran tank commander in the IDF.

Buried deep in today’s lead story in the New York Times on the current battle in the long-running Israeli-Hamas war are these words from Oren which should be spread far and wide:

Michael B. Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, said in a late-night interview that Mr. Netanyahu had “exercised extraordinary restraint up until now” by not engaging ground troops and “paid a heavy political price for it.” Thursday’s tunnel attack, he said, “was a game changer,” adding, “Essentially, Hamas invaded Israel first.”

In contrast to the Iron Dome missile-defense system that Israel says has stopped some 300 rockets from hitting populated areas over the last 10 days, Mr. Oren said, “We don’t have a response to the tunnels.”

He added, “They are reinforced concrete tunnels, basically impregnable from the air and their openings are camouflaged.”

Israel will stay until the tunnels are destroyed.  Fences have worked elsewhere.  Perhaps Israel ought to build a moat.  A very deep moat. Someday when Hamas is gone and peace does come, it could become a canal of extraordinary beauty and commerce.  But now Israel needs a moat.

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